Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Let’s innovate our way out of trouble.

Forget austerity or stimulus, innovation is the best solution to the UK’s economic woes. This is the firm claim in a report by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).  The group is calling for a “new conversation” about economic growth and points out that “the UK has experienced a lost decade of innovation, damaging long-term growth.”

NESTA's 12 step plan for an  innovation-led return to economic prosperity

  1. Financial architecture:  A £200m fund for early-stage ventures; freedom to raise money for the Green Investment Bank, and a new business banks to lend to growth sectors including advanced manufacture and life sciences.
  2. Rebalance government spending towards innovation: Invest the proceeds of the forthcoming 4G spectrum auction - estimated at £4bn - in science, technology and innovation.
  3. Government innovation procurement: Establish innovation spending to channel £1bn of government procurement through innovative businesses.
  4. Infrastructure investment: Relax planning restrictions around innovation clusters.
  5. Collective intelligence: Higher education funds for radical inventions around knowledge creation - putting design thinking at the heart of the new Catapult centres.
  6. Incentives for innovation: A £25m 'challenge prize' fund to inspire the nation to tackle big technological challenges.
  7. Measurement, data and standards: Reshape the tax credit system to recognise hidden innovation and R&D.
  8. Boosting innovation across the UK: Supporting innovation clusters where they are already thriving.
  9. Innovation in the labour market: Link procurement to local jobs, training and apprenticeships and encourage innovation around micro-jobs and micro-franchises. Support innovative projects such as Studio Schools/establish norm of one apprenticeship per £1m turnover.
  10. Public and social innovation: Demonstrate the most effective models and approaches to tackle the severest social challenges, with cross-government funding commitment for public service incubators to share the most effective models.
  11. Education: Create the next generation of digital makers, giving all teenagers the chance to make, code, design and program.
  12. Remove barriers to entrepreneurship: Change the immigration cap to welcome skilled foreign graduates and entrepreneurs, and recast regulation to encourage new market entry.

See here for full details of the NESTA report